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The pain is real but I’m proud of the Edmonton Oilers

Game 7 Stanley Cup Final
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
20 days ago
I’d be lying if I said this loss didn’t hurt like hell. To be that close to hockey’s ultimate prize and lose is painful, and that goes even more so when it’s in Game 7 on the road.
Leading up to the game was one of the best hockey memories I’ve ever had. Oilers fans were everywhere, the vibes were electric, and it felt like we were on deck to watch something special.
Unfortunately, the Hockey Gords don’t care about vibes. They don’t care how much a fan base deserves a win or not. What matters in the end is how you play on the ice, and the tough part is that our boys didn’t do enough to get the job done. To lose by one goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is a heartache that can only be understood by those who have felt it.
As much as I want to sit and say that we’ll get them next time, the reality is that we don’t know when or if the next time will happen. We have no idea if there is a next time. The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports, and to get that close without winning is a pain that I can’t describe.
Being within a single goal of pushing the game to overtime is a heartbreak that’s tough to describe. As I write this in the back an Uber on my way back to the hotel, all I can think about is what If. What if the power play got the job done? What if we got an extra clear when it mattered most? What if I wore a different jersey? What if we got another bounce or two?
The unfortunate part is that none of it matters. None of the hypotheticals I can come up with in my head matter right now. What matters is what happened on the scoreboard, and the sad part is that our boys came up two goals short. What matters is that the Florida Panthers rose to the challenge, and the Edmonton Oilers couldn’t match.
As much as I’m proud of our team for the way they battled to get into a position to win, there are no silver linings when you get this far. It doesn’t matter how much we wanted the story to end with a fairytale ending because the scoreboard doesn’t care about feelings. The scoreboard cares about execution, and last night, the Oilers were the second best team on the ice.
As much as I’m proud of the Oilers for pulling themselves back from the dead, the pain is real. The pride I feel four our boys is overshadowed by loss, and that’s a tough pill to swallow. I thought we deserved better as a fanbase, but unfortunately, that we deserve doesn’t matter when the final buzzer sounds. There are no participation ribbons in the Stanley Cup Final.
That said, it’s hard no to feel proud about the the way this season went. Even though the pain of defeat is real and raw, I wouldn’t give this run up for the world. I had the best time of my life following the Oilers around, and I don’t regret one single moment of the time I spent bopping all over the continent to watch them do their thing.
At the end of the day, the storybook ending didn’t come but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel proud of what the Oilers have accomplished. If you had told me back in November that the Oilers would be playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, I would have never believed you. So, in that sense, it’s hard not to feel grateful for what the team was able to accomplish. Even though it hurts, I loved every minute of this playoff run.
In the moment, I know no wants to hear it — Gord knows I don’t want to write it — the Oilers are the team we always wanted them to be. No, they weren’t able to get that last win they needed to raise the Stanley Cup, but they were so damned close that I find it hard to believe they won’t find a way back. Yeah, I know that’s homer talk at the worse possible time, but I truly believe it.
As my friend and long time Nation Citizen, Travis Dakin, said in our group chat, “I refuse to let this one haunt me like ’06. This one feels different. We will be back. I know it.” You can say that talk is cheap, but I legitimately think he’s right. I legitimately think this team — with the right tweaks — is destined for greatness even though it didn’t happen today.
At the end of the day, nothing will make us feel better about the way this season ended even though we should all feel incredibly proud about the ride we just took together, but I’m incredibly grateful for the memories made over these last two months. The time we spent riding the lighting was as much fun as I’ve ever had being a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, and those are memories I’ll cherish forever.
Thank you for being a part of the ride, and thank you for the amazing conversations we’ve had along the way. Even though the Oilers weren’t able to get the job done, I’ll be damned if I let anyone suggest that this season was anything other than a fantastic ride. The rollercoaster we rode together was one that I’ll never forget, and it makes me so happy that we were able to do it together.
This loss hurts a lot right now, but I’d bet all of Gregor’s money that the Oilers will be back here again. Maybe that’s just the Kool-Aid drinker in me saying that, but I believe that the best is yet t come. It may not feel like it now, and Gord knows I’m battling tears as I write this, but this was the season was the most amazing ride we’ve ever experienced and I cannot wait to get the band back together to try it again.
As we’ve been saying since 2007 when this very website launched: Hope Will Never Die and I truly believe it.

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